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Root-Zone Amendments of Biochar-Based Fertilizers: Yield Increases of White Cabbage in Temperate Climate

  • The use of biochar is an important tool to improve soil fertility, reduce the negative environmental impacts of agriculture, and build up terrestrial carbon sinks. However, crop yield increases by biochar amendment were not shown consistently for fertile soils under temperate climate. Recent studies show that biochar is more likely to increase crop yields when applied in combination with nutrientsThe use of biochar is an important tool to improve soil fertility, reduce the negative environmental impacts of agriculture, and build up terrestrial carbon sinks. However, crop yield increases by biochar amendment were not shown consistently for fertile soils under temperate climate. Recent studies show that biochar is more likely to increase crop yields when applied in combination with nutrients to prepare biochar-based fertilizers. Here, we focused on the root-zone amendment of biochar combined with mineral fertilizers in a greenhouse trial with white cabbage (Brassica oleracea convar. Capitata var. Alba) cultivated in a nutrient-rich silt loam soil originating from the temperate climate zone (Bavaria, Germany). Biochar was applied at a low dosage (1.3 t ha−1). The biochar was placed either as a concentrated hotspot below the seedling or it was mixed into the soil in the root zone representing a mixture of biochar and soil in the planting basin. The nitrogen fertilizer (ammonium nitrate or urea) was either applied on the soil surface or loaded onto the biochar representing a nitrogen-enhanced biochar. On average, a 12% yield increase in dry cabbage heads was achieved with biochar plus fertilizer compared to the fertilized control without biochar. Most consistent positive yield responses were observed with a hotspot root-zone application of nitrogen-enhanced biochar, showing a maximum 21% dry cabbage-head yield increase. Belowground biomass and root-architecture suggested a decrease in the fine root content in these treatments compared to treatments without biochar and with soil-mixed biochar. We conclude that the hotspot amendment of a nitrogen-enhanced biochar in the root zone can optimize the growth of white cabbage by providing a nutrient depot in close proximity to the plant, enabling efficient nutrient supply. The amendment of low doses in the root zone of annual crops could become an economically interesting application option for biochar in the temperate climate zone.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Jannis GrafmüllerGND, Hans-Peter Schmidt, Daniel KrayORCiDGND, Nikolas Hagemann
Publisher:MDPI
Year of Publication:2022
Language:English
Tag:PyCCS; Shovelomics; nitrogen fertilizer; pyrogenic carbon capture and storage; root architecture
Parent Title (English):Horticulturae
Volume:8
Issue:4
ISSN:2311-7524
First Page:1
Last Page:17
Document Type:Article (reviewed)
Open Access:Ja
Institutes:Bibliografie
Release Date:2022/04/12
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International
URN:urn:nbn:de:bsz:ofb1-opus4-56379
DOI:https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae8040307